For Science, . . . you monster.
– GLaDOS, Portal 2
I think it would not be disagreeable to say that science is immortalized in our culture. For decades we’ve been trying to unset the precedent that being a nerd is uncool and dorky. That isn’t all true anymore, no doubt helped by all the cool gadgets and gizmos that science has granted us. The people who think that flip phones are still more useful to them than smartphones could ever be seem to be in the minority. Even hipsters jumped the boat and now stick with their iPhones.
In this society, we have all but banned religion in support of studies and literature. Religions still exist, yes, and in large capacities, but sneak into any progressive rendez-vous and you’ll find the sense that religion isn’t welcome. This isn’t surprising, really – their main arguments are that religion is the cause behind most of the mass violence in the past few millennia have been due to religion, even if the leaders of such violence didn’t really follow that religion. The Crusades, led by none other than the Catholic Church, were a political answer to what was seen as an attack on Europe and Christian-occupied lands in the Middle East, or what was the Eastern Roman Empire at the time. However, it is seen that such events wouldn’t take place if religion didn’t exist in the first place.
This is partly because humanitarianism and basic religious morals fundamentally disagree on one important point: all humans are basically good, or humans are born bad, and they must be taught morals and ethics in order to be “good” in the world as it is. The religious argument is that humans are born with sin, by view Christians and Muslims and Jews, that this sin was inbred with us at the first sin, the Fall of Man. For example, you don’t teach your son or daughter to lie, necessarily, and yet they do it anyways. They have to be taught that lying is bad, and has consequences. Science explains it as a natural side-effect of intelligence and the evolution of social behaviors. Science says, humans are born homosexual or heterosexual; religious say, exactly – sin is inbred within us.
Now, the argument in that sense could go on for a long time. Religion is basically bad because it assumes that all people are born bad and are going to burn in heck or die in hell because of it, if they don’t repent (how could they be so selfish to claim that basically good people will rot in hell if they don’t pray); humanitarians are falling in a pit of pride and self-delusion for assuming that people are good, no matter how good they seem, because no realized human being is perfect. If this continued, it would just be the same old debate, wouldn’t it?
Thus, at this crux of humanitarianism and science, we find something interesting. We can really say “scientifically,” about anything. Science is assumed as this omniscient structure of all the universe and its variables and constants, that at the center of it all, science is what is the truth. Humanitarian-ally speaking, it’s true, because humans will find the basic right in everything, as technology progresses through our research in science. However, it’s just as trustworthy as all of those religiously inspired wars and battles. No matter how much “science” or “religion” is stamped on there, true motives may reveal themselves as truly selfish in ambition, for power, sex, money, what have you – actions that imitate that of religion or science are what make it truly a part of the picture. It makes no difference if the true cause is actually good or bad. “But then it wouldn’t be scientific, if they made a bad study!” Yes. Yes, you are right. The Crusades weren’t really Christian-inspired, either, since the actions taken, even in the name of religion, didn’t actually represent what actions (or lack there-of) a true Christian would have taken.
If we really think that science is omniscient, and for the sake of religious relevance, omnipresent and omnipotent, then its connection to humanitarianism is dangerous. Scientifically speaking, if we pass the Singularity, the moment where we create a being (AI) more intelligent than ourselves, would it be wrong to assume that if the AI decided that we as a species are naturally destructive (i.e. he [or she] is religious) and our end as a species was more beneficial, both for the universe and for science, would it be entirely philosophically wrong to assume that the AI was right?
Wait a minute, woah, this is getting meta. Science really is god, Science is the AI. Worship what we will evolve. Maybe [s]he’ll get rid of our stupid science measurements, like Imperial, degrees, currency, pronouns (or human language, for that matter), and time scale. General relativity means that our concept of time is all in our heads anyways, relative to location, NOT universe. 2015 is totally an earth number, relative to us pitiful humanitarians and theologians. Come on, Science!
The main difference between religion and humanitarianism in this instance is that the god of humanitarianism is our own intellect, knowledge, and power. The collective brain of science determines its own future, its death, and its life. Yet, in our heads, science is the omniscience of the universe, all collective knowledge of everything that was, that is, and what is possible and what is not possible. We should be wary that it does not become our religion. For science.